Man Accused Of Posing As Marine Officer Appears In Court

David Vincent Weber Accused Of Pretending To Be Marine Major General

A man accused of posing as a Marine major general at a Veterans of Foreign Wars party in Ramona to celebrate the birthday of the Marine Corps was arraigned Wednesday on a federal misdemeanor charge of making false claims about military decorations or medals.

David Vincent Weber, 69, appeared in court out of custody and was ordered to post $15,000 bail.

Magistrate Judge Ruben Brooks set a hearing for Thursday to determine if Weber should have to turn over an identification card that prosecutors say indicates he's a major general.

A preliminary hearing was set for Jan. 14.

Special Department of Justice prosecutor Arthur Rizer said felony charges are possible against Weber.

The prosecutor told the judge that Weber attended the celebration on Nov. 7 as a guest of the VFW in full uniform adorned with numerous medals -- including two Purple Heart medals -- presenting himself as a major general.

Honored guests included a Marine who fought at the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II, the prosecutor said.

"This is significant," the prosecutor told the judge, indicating that Weber's claim appeared to make him the highest-ranking officer at the function and he was given the first piece of cake.

Without being more specific, the prosecutor said Weber had an old conviction and failed to make a court appearance in that case.

Weber's attorney, Joseph Camden, said his client pleaded guilty to the crime in 1994 and was incarcerated for a time. The attorney said Weber's failure to appear was a misunderstanding because prosecutors didn't have his address.

Weber is being treated for prostate cancer, has had Parkinson's disease since 1999, has had three strokes, is on 18 medications, is seeing a psychiatrist and is 100 percent disabled, Camden said.

In a probable cause statement, FBI Special Agent James E. Pringle said Weber separated from the Marines in 1967 at the rank of staff sergeant, not major general, after serving a six-year enlistment.

The separation form also showed that Weber did not earn the military decorations that adorned the uniform he wore to the VFW function, Pringle wrote.